Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Underrated Books

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday is: Favorite Underrated Books–Give some love to those books that aren’t as widely talked about. Those hidden gems. Those books that maybe used to be popular but people have forgotten about and they still deserve some love.     

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1. My newest obsession is the Lacey Flint series by S.J. Bolton (aka Sharon Bolton) and I never even heard of it until very recently. More people need to read this – especially if you’re a fan of the mystery/suspense genre.

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2. The Lynburn Legacy series by Sarah Rees Brennan. If you like YA, great banter, cute (yet sometimes frustrating) romance, and a little bit of magic – this book series is for you! Definitely one of my favorite series I wish more people would read.

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3. The Anna Curtis series by Allison Leotta. Another great mystery/suspense series that I don’t see enough people reading.

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4. The Curse Workers series by Holly Black. Another great magical YA series. If for no other reason, read this series for the treasure that is charming, sarcastic Cassel.

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5. The Passing Bells by Phillip Rock. It’s been so long since I read this (and it was before the blog and before I started writing any type of review on Good Reads) that I don’t remember a lot of details, but I remember being obsessed with this book. Great character development, some great (and not so great) romances, and the heartbreak of war.

What underrated books do you wish more people read? Have you read any of mine? And if you haven’t – You should!

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Birthstone as Books Book Tag

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I saw this tag over at Bookish Things and Tea and thought it looked like a fun one. Feel free to tag yourself if you’d like.

GARNET (JANUARY)- Associated with warding off negative forces and dark energies, name a book with the darkest/evilest character you can think of.

Most of the books I think of are YA fantasy/paranormal books, but the villains almost always have some type of redeeming quality/tragic backstory that makes us feel sorry for them. I can’t think of one that’s just straight up evil. So instead I’m going to go with adult mystery and go with about any killer/bad guy in a Karin Slaughter book. Her books usually have some really dark material and the things the bad guy does often makes me sick to my stomach.

AMETHYST (FEBRUARY)- Purple is associated with royalty, name a book with regal qualities…You can base your choice on characters or choose the king (or queen) of all books.

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I think I’ll take this one literally and go with The Royal We.

AQUAMARINE (MARCH)- Washed out, name a ‘wishy washy’ character, a character who is not strong or is a follower.

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Shay from An Accidental Bride by Denise Hunter. When it came to the relationship with Travis she is always one step forward, three steps back. It drove me crazy.

DIAMOND (APRIL)- A diamond in the rough, name a book that you loved but is not well known.

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I’m going to go with the whole Anna Curtis series by Allison Leotta. I do not see nearly enough of her and she is amazing!

EMERALD (MAY)- Said to balance energy, name two characters who balance each other well.

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I’m going to go with McKenzie’s answer and go with Shazi and Khalid from The Wrath and the Dawn series. The strongest thing for me in the series was their relationship and I felt like they’re one of the few YA couples that really are a pretty evenly matched team.

PEARL (JUNE)- Associated with loyalty, name a character who is loyal to the end.

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Kai from The Lunar Chronicles. Even when things looked really bad for Cinder, he was always trying to look out for her.

RUBY (JULY)- Blood red, name a book that made your blood boil, one that made you angry.

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The Goodbye Bride by Denise Hunter. Lucy was selfish and hypocritical and it took until the very end of the book for her to admit to any blame whatsoever.

PERIDOT (AUGUST)- It pales in comparison to other gems, name a supporting character who you like better than the main character.

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Bianca and Leo from The Art of Lainey. I would have much rather read a book about them than about Lainey and Micah.

SAPPHIRE (SEPTEMBER)- Blue like the ocean which is calming, name a book that had a calming affect on you.

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P.S. I Like You by Kasie West. Her books just make me so happy,

OPAL (OCTOBER)- Iridescent, name an iridescent book; this can be with a beautiful cover (shiny, colorful) or you can base it off a character (quirky? unique?).

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This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills. I will never stop hyping this book.

TOPAZ (NOVEMBER)- Associated with resilience, name a book with a character who rises to the top in a time of adversity.

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Emma from One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid. She has so much to deal with and she works her way through it.

BLUE ZIRCON (DECEMBER)- Associated with friendship, name a book with a friendship you want to be a part of.

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The crew from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. I want to pull off a heist with these guys.

The GoodReads Book Tag

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I recently saw this tag over on Rattle the Stars and thought it looked like a fun one.

What was the last book you marked as ‘read’?

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Shuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein. I had some issues with it, but overall it was really cute.

What are you currently reading?

Nothing. I just finished Shuffle, Repeat, and haven’t started a new one yet. I guess I still have Blitzing Emily by Julie Brannagh marked as “currently reading”, but I started it like two books ago and I don’t think I’m going to finish it anytime soon.

What was the last book you marked as ‘TBR’?

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Chance of a Lifetime by Marissa Clarke. I generally don’t reach for books with this type of cover on it, but I am interested in it because one of the main characters is blind. I love seeing books that can break stigmas on disabilities.

What book do you plan to read next?

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My hold from the library finally came in for Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare, so it might be what’s next. I’m not really sure if I’m in the mood to jump back into the Shadowhunter word, though.

Do you use the star rating system?

Of course

Are you doing a Reading Challenge?

Yes. I actually met my goal of 75 books with the last book I read. I’m debating between increasing it or just feeling accomplished.

Do you have a wishlist?

I have a TBR.

What book do you plan to buy next?

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I am thinking about either P.S. I Like You by Kasie West or Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

Do you have any favorite quotes, would you like to share a few?

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I am actually really horrible at remembering quotes. I bookmark and highlight all these lines when I read, but they rarely stick with me. There is one, though, that I love from Red Rising by Pierce Brown. I have no idea why this is the one that stands out when there are soooo many good lines from that series.

…It isn’t their concern. And it shouldn’t be mine. Apparently my head is going to roll. I ask them what they will swing. “I have all the axes.”

Who are your favorite authors?

  • Rainbow Rowell
  • Pierce Brown
  • Linwood Barclay
  • Kasie West
  • Linda Castillo
  • Karin Slaughter
  • Allison Leotta
  • Leigh Bardugo
  • Liane Moriarty
  • Jojo Moyes
  • just to name a few…

Have you joined any groups?

I’ve joined one book club group, but I haven’t actually been interested enough in any of the books they were reading to actually participate in it yet.

What do you think that Goodreads could do better?

Obviously the 1/2 star thing. I use a 1/2 star rating a lot on my blog and when I transfer that rating to Good Reads, I always round down (i.e. 3.5 Stars on blog = 3 Stars on Good Reads). I think my average rating would be higher if we had half stars.

I also would like to see Nook Book/Epub versions to choose from. I know that Good Reads is owned by Amazon now, so that’s probably not going to happen. But the number of pages in a Nook Book varies SO MUCH from the hard copy – and even from the Kindle. So when I’m updating my status, I have to use the percentage instead of page number to get an accurate picture – and since my particular Nook doesn’t tell me percentage, I have to calculate it.

Tagging:

Feel free to tag yourself if you would like.

We should be Good Reads friends! Come friend me!

Review: The Last Good Girl (Anna Curtis #5) by Allison Leotta

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

In the bestselling tradition of Jodi Picoult and written “in a style that’s as real as it gets (USA TODAY), this ripped-from-the-headlines novel features prosecutor Anna Curtis as she finds herself again at the center of a national story involving a freshman girl at a prestigious university who disappears after filing rape charges against a young man in a powerful fraternity.

Emma, a freshman at a Michigan university, has gone missing. She was last seen leaving a bar near Sigma Pi, the prestigious and secretive fraternity known on campus as “the rape factory.” The main suspect is Dylan Brooks, the son of one of the most powerful politicians in the state. But so far the only clues are pieced-together surveillance footage of Emma leaving the bar that night…and Dylan running down the street after her.

Anna Curtis is on the case when she discovers the video diary Emma kept over her first few months at college, exposing the history she had with Dylan—and accusing him of rape before she disappeared.

Emma’s disappearance gets media attention and support from Title IX activists across the country, but Anna’s investigation hits a wall. Now Anna is looking for something, anything she can use to find Emma alive. But without a body or any physical evidence, she’s under threat from people who tell her to think hard before she ruins the name of an “innocent young man.” Inspired by real-life stories, The Last Good Girl shines a light on campus rape and the powerful emotional dynamics that affect the families of the men and women on both sides.

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I received a copy of this title from NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

The Last Good Girl will be available May 3, 2016.

I love this series so much! Leotta writes such realistic characters and intense situations that keep me glued to the pages. I’ve been looking forward to this book for a while and it definitely didn’t disappoint me.

Anna is still in Michigan, living with her old friend/current love interest Cooper, her sister Jody, and Jody’s baby and working remotely from her job as a prosecutor in the US Attorney’s office. She had taken some time away to go home to Michigan to defend her sister in a trial – and get away from her recently broken engagement. Then her ex-fiancé, Jack, calls her to say he’s in Michigan and needs her help on a case. A young college girl has gone missing and the last person she was seen with was the boy she accused of raping her.

This book really starts off running and never slows down. There was never a chapter I didn’t feel was important or a moment where I wanted to set the book down. Interspersed with Anna’s POV, we get a few scenes from Wyatt, Cooper’s younger brother and pledge at the fraternity that Dylan, Emily’s accused rapist, runs. There are also entries from Emily’s vlog where we learn all of the events leading up to her disappearance, and legal letters and documents regarding Emily’s accusation of Dylan. I really enjoyed the style and the use of non-traditional narration with the vlogs and letters.

In addition to the mystery of the missing Emily and the sexual assault allegations against Dylan, Anna is forced to confront the uncertainness of her own life. Her ex-fiancé Jack is in town, working along side her again and trying to win her back. Meanwhile she’s still living at Cooper’s and meeting his family. She never meant for her relationship with Cooper to be serious, but she cares for him more than she ever planned to. She tries to envision what her life would be like if she went back to DC with Jack or if she stays with Cooper, but neither one seems exactly right. This is actually a very small portion of the story, but since I am strongly Team Cooper, I was really invested in it. I also really enjoyed seeing Anna come to some realizations about herself and her relationships and making decisions. She’s such a likable character and I loved seeing her develop even more in this installment.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Last Good Girl. It’s a steadily paced, solid mystery with surprises along the way. Like all of Leotta’s novels, the crimes involved are very relevant to the world today and her own experience and insight into the legal world really brings an authenticity to the story. I definitely recommend this series to everyone who enjoys the mystery/suspense/crime genre.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

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Reviewing the Unreviewed: April 2016

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. I thought I’d start doing a post once a month  with just the couple thoughts I shared on Good Reads.

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What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty. Read March 29-31. 4 Stars.

So I technically read this one in March, but it was after I posted my Reviewing the Unreviwed for the month.

I really liked this book. The pace is pretty slow, but it’s a very intensely character driven story and I really cared about all of them. I really liked Alice and I loved Nick (and then hated him a little and then loved him and then got just as mixed up as Alice). I loved their kids and their whole slightly dysfunctional family.
I feel like people who are married and have kids (or are trying to have kids) would be able to relate a little more to the story than I did, but I still found a lot of the themes relatable.

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The Last Good Girl (Anna Curtis #5) by Allison Leotta. Read April 12. 4 Stars.

I love this series so much! Leotta writes such realistic characters and intense situations that keep me glued to the pages. I’ve been looking forward to this book for a while and it definitely didn’t disappoint me. Full review to come closer to release date.

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The Wishing Season (Chapel Springs #3) by Denise Hunter. Read April 13-17. 3.5 Stars.

I liked this one. Both PJ and Cole were likable characters and the story didn’t drag like some of the other books in this series does. I thought the premise was a little unrealistic, but it worked well enough. Overall an enjoyable read with a slow-burn, cute romance.

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The Last Best Kiss by Claire LaZebnik. Read April 19-21. 2.5 Stars.

I didn’t really care for this one. The characters were unlikable, spoiled, and shallow. I didn’t like the casual drug use or how the clothing of EVERY character was described in EVERY scene. There were a few cute moments, though, and a few of the parallels to Persuasion were well done enough to keep me reading.

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Cure for the Common Breakup (Black Dog Bay #1) by Beth Kendrick. Read April 21-23. 3 Stars.

I didn’t like this one as much as the other book I’ve read by this author, but it was still ok. My favorite thing was the relationship between Summer and Ingrid. I never felt like we got to know Dutch enough for me to ever really buy into the romance. I mostly liked Summer, though I found her hard to relate to most of the time. Overall, a quick, easy read that had some funny and cute moments.

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Dancing with Fireflies (Chapel Springs #2) by Denise Hunter. Read April 23-24. 3.5 Stars.

I really liked Daniel. He was so sweet. Jade was a little selfish and is probably my least favorite of all the McKinley kids, but she grew on me by the end. A cute, quick read.

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Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan. Read April 25-28. 3 Stars.

After completely falling in love with Brennan’s Lynburn Legacy series, I was so looking forward to reading more from her, but I found myself pretty disappointed with this book. The quick-witted humor and banter that I had come to expect from Brennan was missing. Perhaps I would have liked this better if I had read A Tale of Two Cities?

The one thing that made me keep reading was Carwyn. In the beginning he reminded me a bit of Jared Lynburn and was the only one with the humor I was expecting. But as the story went on, his character really developed and I just love him. There were several chapters in the middle of the book where he wasn’t involved and it almost made me stop reading, but I am glad I kept on. He’s the reason I’m rating this 3 stars and not something lower.

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RE-READS

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The first three Raven Cycle books in order to gear up for the release of The Raven King. You can see thoughts on my re-read HERE.

Happy Galentine’s Day! Celebrating my Favorite Female Authors

Galentine’s Day is the creation of Leslie Knope from one of the best tv shows of all time, Parks & Recreation. What is it exactly?

Start a Galentine's Day Tradition!:

This Galentine’s Day I thought I’d celebrate my Favorite Female Authors that I would invite to my Galentine’s Day Breakfast.

Rainbow Rowell

Rainbow Rowell

Of course one of my favorite authors of all time, Rainbow Rowell, would have to be there. It is no secret I wish she was my best friend. She is the author of one of my all-time favorites, Attachments, as well as gems like Fangirl and Eleanor & Park.

Jennifer Armentrout

JLA would be so fun to hang out with. She is the author of one of my favorite YA series, Lux, as well as popular series Covenant and Wait for You.

Allison Leotta

Allison Leotta

Allison Leotta is the author of the Anna Curtis series, which I love. She is also a former federal prosecutor in DC and would have LOTS of stories to share.

Kristan Higgins

Kristan Higgins

Kristan Higgins knows a little something about romance, but also of some great female friendships, so she would be a great addition to our breakfast. She’s the author of the Blue Heron series, as well as many other cute romances and her recent foray into Women’s Fiction with If You Only Knew.

Jojo Moyes

Jojo Moyes

Jojo Moyes could make us cry and then make us laugh. She’s written some of my favorites such as Me Before You and One Plus One.

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HAPPY GALENTINE’S DAY

What authors would you invite to you Galentine’s Day Breakfast?

 

2015 End of Year Book Survey

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This survey is created by The Perpetual Page-Turner.

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Number Of Books You Read: 123 (as of 12/27/15 – this will probably go up a book or two by year end)
Number of Re-Reads: 24 (not counted in the above answer)
Genre You Read The Most From: YA

 

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1. Best Book You Read In 2015?

I don’t think I can pick one book, but I have narrowed it down to my three favorite (which were also the ones I got for Christmas):

  1. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
  2. Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin
  3. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (This book will be referenced a lot from here on out, BTW)

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway, Pretending to be Erica by Michelle Painchaud, and The Magician’s Lie by Greer Macallister

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

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The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh – in a Good way!

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

The Fill-in Boyfriend by Kasie West. I’ve had a few different people tell me they read it because I kept talking about it.

 5. Best series you started in 2015? Best Sequel of 2015? Best Series Ender of 2015?

Started – Six of Crows (Six of Crows) by Leigh Bardugo

Sequel – First Frost (Waverly Family) by Sarah Addison Allen

Ender – Winter (The Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015?

Allison Leotta – The Anna Curtis series

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

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Carry On by Rainbow Rowell – I don’t read a lot of books that have LGBT romance.

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

Six of Crows!

 9. Book You Read In 2015 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Big Little Lies

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015?

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The book only got 2 stars from me, but I adore the cover of A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray.

11. Most memorable character of 2015?

Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows. He’s everything.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2015?

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First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2015?

This year I read for pure enjoyment purposes. I can’t say I read anything that was life-changing.

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read? 

Missing You by Harlan Coben. Not necessarily that book, but the author. I have never read him before and I know I’ll definitely be reading more of him.

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015?

I don’t keep track of quotes. It’s not my thing.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2015?

Shortest – Ten Rules for a Call Girl by Allison Leotta

Longest – Winter by Marissa Meyer

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

You know, there were several books that had some small twists or surprises, but there is not anything that stands out to me as being really shocking.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)

Cinder & Kai from Winter

Kaz & Inej from Six of Crows

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

The Six of Crows gang as a whole, Cinder & Thorne

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2015 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Six of Crows – previously read The Grisha series by Leigh Bardugo

21. Best Book You Read In 2015 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas – because ALL THE HYPE

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015?

Kaz Brekker. Obviously.

23. Best 2015 debut you read?

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Unbecoming by Rebecca Scherm

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

The Wrath and the Dawn

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

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The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2015?

While it definitely wasn’t the sob fest that was Me Before You, After You by Jojo Moyes had me a little teary at the beginning.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

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Aimee and the Heartthrob by Ophelia London was pretty cute.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

I didn’t read a lot of heavy hitting reads this year. I’m not actually upset by this.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2015?

You by Caroline Kepnes. This book was just Messed Up.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

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Vendetta by Catherine Doyle because it was RIDICULOUS!

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1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2015?

I’m not entirely sure if it was this year or last year, but I’m pretty sure it was this year that I discovered Brandie is a Book Junkie. We don’t share the same tastes in everything, but we both love Suspense novels and if she gives a Suspense a favorable rating, it’s automatically going on my TBR. She is also the reason I read my first Harlan Coben book this year. And we also figured out that we live in the same county, which is pretty cool!

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2015?

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Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

If My Life were Like Chick Lit…The Wedding Date and All the Ways in which I am not a Proper Book Nerd/Blogger.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

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I went to a book signing/talk by Linda Castillo (of the Kate Burkholder series).

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2015?

I had my first publisher provided giveaway – for a copy of Black-Eyed Susans.

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

I’ve had several book slumps throughout the year and that bled over into not having anything to post on the blog. I’ve also had lots of Low-Blog-Self-Esteem moments where I kind of hate everything about my blog/blogging.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

My review of The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne has the most views of the year. I don’t have any idea how to search by comments or likes.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

I don’t really know. I wish every post got more likes/comments/views. But what can you do?

9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

Many new blogs

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

For the Good Reads Reading Challenge I wanted to read 115 books and I surpassed it.

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1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2016?

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Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone. I bought it when it was on sale, but haven’t read it yet. It’s first up after I get some library books and ARCs out of the way.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2016 (non-debut)?

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The Raven King!!!! How many times has this been pushed back?!?

3. 2016 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

I can’t think of anything at the moment. I’m not super attuned to those yet, I guess.

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2016?

The Raven King, obviously, and Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2)

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2016?

Request less ARCs unless it’s a book that I know I REALLY want to read. I hate DNF-ing ARCs, but I also hate forcing myself to finish books I don’t like and then try to write coherent reviews about them.

6. A 2016 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

So far I’ve only read one and a half 2016 books and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend them to everyone.